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197 pages, Paperback
First published August 27, 2002
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.While the content of the book is by no means as heavy or serious as Mr. Paine's writing, this book was released during an interesting time in America's history. Namely the aftermath of 9/11 and several of the essays in this book deal with Vowell's complex relationship with her country and how she feels about it.
"The Internet is the nerd Israel, a place to speak and listen to spectacularly specific concerns."And I can't help but cringe when Vowell asserts,
Still, sometimes I think the true American flag has always been the one with the snake hissing, "Don't Tread on Me."Little did she know how that image would be—was already being—coopted by wingnuts with their own anti-American agendas.
I was one of the hundreds of people standing in the mud on the Washington Mall on January 20 at the inauguration of George W. Bush. Everyone standing there in the cold rain had very strong feelings. It was either/or. Either you beamed through the ceremony with smiles of joy, or you wept through it all with tears of rage. I admit, I was one of the people there who needed a hankie when it was over. At the end of the ceremony, it was time to sing the national anthem. Some of the dissenters refused to join in. Such was their anger at their country at that moment they couldn't find it in their hearts to sing. But I was standing there next to my friend Jack, and Jack and I put our hands over our hearts and sang that song loud. Because we love our country too. Because we wouldn't have been standing there, wouldn't have driven down to Washington just to burst into tears if we didn't care so very, very much about how this country is run.
—from "The Partly Cloudy Patriot," p.169